Britain has killed two of its own nationals who had been fighting for Islamic State (IS) and plotting attacks on British soil, in its first air strike in Syria, prime minister David Cameron says.Despite not having a parliamentary mandate to take military action in Syria, Mr Cameron told politicians, as an act of self-defence, Briton Reyaad Khan had been targeted and killed in a precision drone strike in the country.Mr Cameron said the strike was carried out by a British Royal Air Force (RAF), remotely piloted aircraft in August and that two people travelling with the man, including another Briton, Ruhul Amin, were also killed.
Key pointsUK kills own nationals in SyriaBritons were killed in first British air strike in SyriaHuman rights groups question legality of strikesCameron says targets planned attacks on UK
“There was a terrorist directing murder on our streets and no other means to stop him,” Mr Cameron said.”We took this action because there was no alternative.”The air strike was “entirely lawful”, he said.Amnesty International’s UK director, Kate Allen, said it was “extremely alarming that the UK has apparently been conducting summary executions from the air”.”In following the United States down a lawless road of remote-controlled, summary killings from the sky, the RAF has crossed a line,” she said.British warplanes have launched regular air attacks against IS fighters in neighbouring Iraq in recent months and flown drones over Syria to gather military intelligence.But unlike some countries in a US-led international coalition, it does not generally target IS in Syria.
In following the United States down a lawless road of remote-controlled summary killings from the sky, the RAF has crossed a line.
Amnesty International’s Kate Allen
The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) think tank said the strike marked a big departure in policy.”The point is not so much that this man was British but that he was targeted in an area that the UK does not currently regard, legally, as an operational theatre of war for UK forces,” RUSI director-general Michael Clarke said in a statement.In 2013, Mr Cameron suffered a humiliating defeat in parliament when he sought approval of possible military action against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.That defeat was inflicted by the opposition Labour Party, whose popularity among a war-weary electorate still suffers because of the decision by former leader Tony Blair to take Britain to war …Read More